Fifteen year-old Payton MacGregor is a musical prodigy. To him, though, his music is merely a way for him to escape from the chaos that surrounds him. All of his life, he's had to care for his mother, who copes with her bipolar disorder with booze instead of turning to her own musical talents. He refuses to become a statistic. Then he's thrown a curve ball.
His mother suddenly dies, leaving him to be cared for by his aging grandparents. As much as they love him, they decide to send him halfway across Canada to live with his father, Liam--the man Payton always believed abandoned him and his mother. Payton isn't making the relocation easy on anyone until he finds out he's going to attend the prestigious School of the Arts for musically gifted youth. Any second thoughts he has about his new life are erased when he meets Lily Joplin. Their connection is instantaneous.
Lily is a talented singer, but her struggles with drugs and bipolar disorder hit too close to home for Payton's comfort. And when her issues become all-consuming, he wonders if his music will be enough to carry him through.
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About the Author
You’ll find her work in many online and in-print parenting, inspirational, Christian and writing publications in Canada, United States, Australia, and Britain. In addition, she’s authored an award-winning children’s book (I’m Not Weird, I Have SPD), two memoirs (the multi award-winning, Not Just Spirited: A Mom’s Sensational Journey With SPD and White Elephants), and a Young Adult novel (Blackbird Flies).
Please visit Chynna’s website at www.lilywolfwords.ca, as well as her blogs at www.the-gift-blog.com and www.seethewhiteelephants.com, to get a feel for her work and what inspires her.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This short story was packed full of emotion. It's about a boy, Payton, that is sent to live with his father, a father he has never known, after the death of his mother. It has been his dream to attend the prestigious School of the Arts for musically gifted youth. It is at this school that he meets a very talented singer, Lily, that he becomes attracted to only to find out she has some secrets of her own. Overall I thought the story was great and shows the very real truth behind substance abuse.
Just finished reading this book in 2 sittings. It was great. I cannot wait to read the newest work coming out by Chynna. Such a talented author.
"Blackbird Flies" by Chynna T Laird was a good short read. This story deals with mental illness and drug abuse issues with is mother and later with a school friend Lily. The story was of Payton Mac Gregor who had lived for the first fifteen years with is mothers' parents (his grandparents), in Winnipeg now was sent to live his father(Liam) whom Payton had never met to Edmonton. The big question for Payton was why was he sent to live with his father? Now, Payton is with his new family and he has two siblings Dahlia and River. Payton gets accepted into a prestigious music school for gifted students due to the fact he was so talented. For Payton played the piano wonderfully. It was at this school that Payton met his friend Lily and she brought back memories of Payton mother. Lily suffered from bipolar,which also had afflicted his mother. The characters in this novel were really great and so real. I think my favorites were Payton, Liam, Kate, Dahlia, and Lily. With the story dealing with mental illness,drugs and suicide, Ms. Laird did a really good job with her story telling on this issue. For Payton to be so strong after everything he had been through was remarkable. I believe "Blackbird Flies" would be for anyone dealing with these kinds of issues and I do recommend this as a good read.
I loved the premise of this book-a young man with a shattered background heads off to reclaim a part of his heritage he thought was lost forever. His troubled mother dies and Payton is shipped to live with his father, a man he's never known. To complicate things, his father already has a family, complete with a stepmother and siblings Payton's never met. This is a coming-of-age novella with an important message. Payton must embrace his past and his musical gifts before he can move forward. I loved how Payton holds on to his values throughout the story. He doesn't really know how to interact with his new family, but despite his inner conflicts he treats his younger half-siblings well. His relationship with his father and stepmother opens like a flower, but not without bumps and bruises along the way. When he meets the beautiful Lily, Payton feels an overwhelming attraction, but he doesn't take ownership of her problems. In many ways, Payton is a prodigy not just in music.he often seems wise beyond his years. "Blackbird Flies" is a lovely story, brushing up against mental illness and drug abuse issues. Like the haunting chorus of a beautiful song, the parallels between Payton's mother and Lily play off against one another. No spoilers here, but Payton is challenged time and time again as he struggles to find the right path. This novella, gritty in places, is well worth a read.
Review by Shannon: Fifteen year old Payton MacGregor finds himself on a train bound from Winnipeg to Edmonton with no idea how things are going to turn out. Since the death of his mother, he'd been living with his elderly grandparents. Out of the blue, they present him with a train ticket and an opportunity to meet with the man he thought had abandon him when he was a baby. When he gets to Edmonton, he find out nothing is what he thinks. He finds he is most definitely his father's son, that he has 2 small siblings and a stepmother who are very excited to see him and that his grandparents didn't just send him here for an extended visit, but to live there permanently to attend a prestigious music school. Although Payton's reluctant, especially given all the change he's encountered, he agrees to attend the school. Almost immediately, he meets Lily Jordan. She's vivacious and incredibly talented, but Payton finds out quickly that she also suffers from bipolar, which also afflicted his mother. While Lily heads on a downward spiral, Payton tells her he's there for here and will be the shoulders that help her through the rough times. Unfortunately, Lily can't fight her demons and no matter how hard it is, Payton tells her he can't be the person she turns to if she's going to continue the way she is. The story started out slow and I wasn't sure where this was going, but half way through it picked up steam. I was completely caught off guard at the end and was reaching for the Kleenex at what transpired with Daliah (Payton's sister), Lily and Payton. It was heartbreaking, as you can tell Payton has been through so much. A great read and one that will definitely have you drying your eyes.